If you’re looking for a deliciously unique twist on homemade jam, look no further than this Rum Spiced Pear Jam recipe. Bursting with the warm and comforting flavors of rum and spices, this homemade pear jam is a true treat for your taste buds. Whether slathered on toast, scones, or in pastries, this jam will elevate any dish to new levels of deliciousness. So roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will have everyone asking for seconds.
As much as I love living in the coastal Southeast, I do get excited when winter rolls in…if for no other reason than I can wear some of my favorite sweaters! Well, that and I love baking, and having a home filled with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg or chicken soup on a cold day is sheer bliss to me.
It was 80° on an October Friday and mid-70°s the next day, so when the forecast said that the high on Sunday would be in the 50°s, I knew it was time! I immediately started wondering what wonderful things I could cook and bake on that chilly (relatively) day. And what my mind came up with was this Rum Spiced Pear Jam Recipe.
For several years now, we’ve given jars of preserves with a baked treat to neighbors, friends, and teachers as food gifts. I needed to get some of the jams made and wanted to ‘test run’ the baked goods that would accompany the jam.
With my favorite canning books around me, what I came up with was…PEARS! I had not canned with pears before…their sometimes grainy texture has never said ‘make a jam out of me’ like a juicy peach or a tart cherry. But several of the authors I respect touted the pear as a great winter preserve, so I resolved then and there to go down the ‘pear path.’
While I was seeking inspiration, I noticed some cooks using brandy in their preserves. I didn’t have brandy, but I did have a quarter of a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum…tell me that didn’t sound good with my cardamom-spiced pears!? And because I’ve never been one to leave well enough alone, I decided a few pieces of cinnamon would only make my jam just that much better.
The resulting Rum Spiced Pear Jam is spectacular! The pears melted into a soft, gently flavored spread that checked all the boxes that needed to be checked. And this pear jam ‘pairs’ perfectly with these Gingerbread Scones, just in case you were wondering. In fact, this jam is the whole reason I initially made these scones.
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The Many Ways You Will Enjoy This Spiced Pear Jam Recipe
Rum spiced pear jam is a versatile spread with a delightful blend of sweet, spicy, and fruity flavors. Here are some suggested uses to fully enjoy this delectable jam:
- Breakfast Spread: Use it to spread on toast, croissants, muffins, scones, or bagels for a delightful morning treat.
- Pancakes & Waffles: Spread or dollop on pancakes or waffles instead of regular maple syrup.
- Yogurt & Granola: Swirl into plain yogurt and top with granola for a flavorful breakfast or snack.
- Dessert Fillings: Use it as a filling for crepes, turnovers, tarts, or thumbprint cookies.
- Ice Cream Topping: Warm the jam slightly and drizzle over vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.
- Cheese Pairing: Pair with cheeses like brie, camembert, or cheddar on a cheese platter. The jam’s sweetness contrasts beautifully with the savory notes of the cheese.
- Glazes & Marinades: Use it as a glaze for roasted pork, chicken, or turkey. The spices complement these meats very well.
- Sandwiches: Spread on bread for gourmet sandwiches, especially with roast meats or cheeses.
- Cake Filling: Layer between cakes or incorporate into buttercream for a unique cake flavor.
- Dessert Sauces: Thin the jam with a little water or more rum and use it as a sauce for poached pears, bread pudding, or cheesecake.
- Pair with Chocolate: The rich flavors of the jam go well with chocolate desserts, so consider using it as a layer in a chocolate tart or brownies.
- Rice Pudding: Swirl into rice pudding or other creamy desserts for added flavor.
- Homemade Pop Tarts: Use as a filling for homemade pop tarts or pastries.
- Cocktails: Incorporate into cocktails as a sweetener and flavor enhancer. It could work well in autumn-themed drinks.
- Gifts: Package your spiced pear jam in decorative jars with a spoon for a homemade gift for holidays or special occasions. These are similar to the jars I used but have gold lids. I purchased the darling spoons on a trip several years back; these are very similar.
Given its distinctive blend of flavors, this rum-spiced pear jam can elevate many dishes and become a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire. In fact, you may just find yourself needing to plant a pear tree, or five, to have a ready supply of this versatile fruit each September.
Ingredients in this Spiced Pear Jam Recipe
Ripe Bartlett Pears: Bartlett pears are juicy, sweet, and have a slightly buttery texture. When ripe, they possess a fragrant aroma and are perfect for jams because of their natural sweetness and texture. By peeling and chopping them, you’re making them ready to be broken down into a jam consistency.
Sugar: Sugar acts as a preservative and sweetener in jam. It interacts with the pectin in the pears and the added lemon juice to help the jam set and get that desired spreadable consistency. Furthermore, it prolongs the shelf life of the jam by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.
Lemon Juice: Lemon juice serves a dual purpose in making jam. It provides the necessary acidity to help set the jam, especially if the main fruit (in this case, pears) is low in natural pectin. Plus, it brings out the flavor of the fruit and balances the sweetness from the sugar.
Green Cardamom Seed Pods: Cardamom is a spice that is both aromatic and flavorful. It adds a unique warm, and slightly spicy note to the jam. Wrapping the crushed pods in muslin or placing them in a tea infuser allows the flavor to infuse the jam without dispersing the seeds throughout, making it easier to remove them later.
Cinnamon Sticks: Cinnamon is a warm, sweet spice that pairs wonderfully with pears and enhances the overall flavor of the jam. Using whole sticks allows for a gentle infusion of the cinnamon flavor. Just like the cardamom, the sticks can be easily removed after they have imparted their flavor.
Spiced Rum: Rum, especially the spiced variety, adds depth and a warm undertone to this Spiced Pear Jam Recipe. It pairs beautifully with the sweet and spiced flavors of the other ingredients. The alcohol content in the rum will cook off during the jam-making process, leaving just the flavor behind.
Prepping the Pears:
- Peeling: Use a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife to peel the pears.
- Chopping: Aim for uniform-sized chunks to ensure even cooking.
- Prevent Browning: As you chop, toss the pear pieces in a bowl with a little lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
Extracting Maximum Pectin: When you’re coring the pears, save the cores and seeds. Place them in a muslin bag or cheesecloth and boil them with the jam. These parts contain natural pectin, which can help the jam set.
Managing Foam: When boiling fruit and sugar, foam may develop on the surface. Skim this off with a spoon for a clearer jam. Adding a small knob of butter can also help reduce foaming.
Pan + Stirring Tips: Use a wide, heavy-bottomed pan to cook the jam. This ensures even heat distribution and reduces the chances of the jam burning. Stir continuously to prevent the jam from sticking to the bottom and burning.
Test for Doneness: The Cold Plate Test will help you test for doneness or gel state. Place a plate in the freezer before you start. To test the jam, drop a little on the cold plate and push it with your fingertip. If it wrinkles slightly, it’s done.
Spices: If using whole spices like cinnamon sticks or cardamom pods, remember to remove them before jarring your Spiced Pear Jam. And, if you’re unsure about spice levels, start with a bit less. You can always add more, but you can’t remove it once it’s in the jam.
Rum Addition: Alcohol can evaporate when heated, so add the rum towards the end of the cooking process to preserve its flavor.
Canning Tips: Follow the easy steps to make your pear jam shelf/pantry stable. I highly recommend The Ball Book of Canning for all new canners. It is my canning bible.
Labeling: Always label your jars with the production date and the type of jam. This helps in tracking freshness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different type of pear in this spiced pear jam recipe?
Yes, while Bartlett pears are often recommended due to their sweetness and texture, other varieties like Anjou or Bosc can also be used. Just note that the flavor and consistency may vary slightly.
Can I use regular rum instead of spiced rum?
Absolutely! While spiced rum adds a unique flavor profile to the jam, regular rum will still give it a delightful depth. You can also adjust the spices in the jam to compensate for any flavors missing from the spiced rum.
How long will the jam last once it’s made?
If properly canned and stored in a cool, dark place, sealed jars of the jam can last up to a year or more. Once opened, it’s best to refrigerate and consume within 1-2 months.
Do I have to use alcohol in this recipe?
No, the rum can be omitted if you prefer not to use alcohol. However, the rum adds a distinct flavor that complements the spices. If you choose to omit it, you might consider increasing the spices slightly for added depth.
Can I reduce the sugar in the recipe?
I wouldn’t. Reducing sugar will affect the jam’s texture, setting properties, and preservation quality. Sugar not only sweetens the jam but also acts as a preservative and aids in setting the jam.
I don’t have fresh spices. Can I use ground spices instead?
While whole spices are often preferred for a more subtle infusion of flavor, ground spices can be used. However, they are more potent, so adjust the quantity and add them sparingly. Always taste as you go to get the right balance.
My jam didn’t set properly. What can I do?
If your jam is too runny, you can return it to the pot, add some pectin (following the manufacturer’s instructions), and boil again until it reaches the desired consistency. Alternatively, you can also boil it for a longer time without added pectin.
Can I freeze the jam instead of canning it?
Yes, the jam can be frozen in freezer-safe containers! See below for instructions.
You Can Water Bath Can or Refrigerate your Jam
Whether you water bath can or refrigerate/freeze your jam is up to you.
Water bath canning is a method of preserving preserves, jams, and jellies to make them shelf-stable for up to two years. I walk you through the water bath canning process, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving if this is your first time making canned preserves.
To make your jam shelf stable, all you need is an additional 30 minutes of your time, a water bath canner or pot deep enough to cover your jars by 2 inches, and Half-Pint Mason Jars with Self-Sealing Lids or something similar. A few more inexpensive pieces of equipment make your canning experience more enjoyable and efficient: a jar/can lifter, magnetic canning lid lifter, and headspace gauge.
if you’d rather refrigerate or freeze your jam
The only equipment you still need to prepare is your jars and lids. Just make sure that they are clean and freezer-stable jars. The best jars for freezing are those without shoulders, but instead are straight-sided. Mason jars are great jars to freeze jams and jellies in.
Follow the directions as written, ignoring any references to preparing canning equipment. When you reach the directions to ladle the jam into the jars, leave 1″ of headspace instead of 1/4″. Place lids on the jars and let them come to room temperature. Once they are at room temperature, you can refrigerate or freeze the jars. Your jars of jam will keep in the freezer for 1 year and 1 month in the refrigerator.
Looking for More Jam Recipes?
Made with pears, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and ginger, this Cranberry Pear Jam is a lovely fall/winter preserve. This Spiced Winter Cranberry Conserve is made with warming brandy, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Red wine is flavored with classic mulling spices for this delightful Mulled Wine Jelly. Finally, this Yellow Plum Jam Recipe uses cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger for their warming flavors.
- 4 lbs ripe Bartlett pears, should yield 8 cups, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons bottled or fresh lemon juice
- 10 green cardamom seed pods, slightly crushed to release/expose seeds and wrapped in a piece of muslin or in a tea infuser or or 1 - 1½ teaspoons ground cardamom.
- 2 cinnamon sticks or 1/2 -1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons spiced rum, I'm sure any rum would be fine, but the spiced does have a nice flavor, but feel free to experiment
- If you will be canning the jam, Prepare a canner, jars, and lids. Wash your jars and lids. Sterilize your jars in a large pot filled with water. Bring the water to almost a simmer over medium heat. Keep the jars in the simmering water over low heat until you are ready to fill them. Use a jar lifter to remove them from the water when you are ready to fill them, dumping the hot water back into the pot when you remove each jar from the water. Before you can, put your lids in a small pot or bowl with hot, but not boiling, water. Put some white vinegar in a small bowl alongside a clean washcloth or paper towel. Keep the water in your canning pot at a simmer while you fill your jars. See The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving for additional guidance.½
- Put a small plate in the freezer.
- Place pears, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods in a large stainless steel saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
- Boil, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, which should take about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and test for doneness/gel state by placing a small amount of the jam on the plate. Put the plate back in the freezer for 1 minute. If when you push it with your finger, it wrinkles a bit, it is done.
- If the gel state has been reached, skim off any foam and stir in rum.
To Water Bath Process
- Spoon your jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim.
- Center lid on the jar
- Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
- Place jars in a canner, ensuring there is at least 1" of water over the cans.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil
- Boil for 10 minutes
- Turn the heat off, remove the lid, and let sit for 5 minutes
- Carefully remove jars with a jar lifter and place them on a rack to be undisturbed for 24 hours.
- Refrigerate any jars whose lids don't pop down.
To Freeze the Preserves
- Spoon preserves into clean jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim.
- Center lid on the jar.
- Let cool to room temperature.
- Freeze jars.
This recipe assumes some knowledge of proper and safe canning techniques. Please see the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for guidance.
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